Like the old saying goes: Sandwich-related injuries are all fun and games until it keeps someone from playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Last week Joel Peralta hurt his neck while getting out of his car to buy some sandwiches, but the good news was that the injury is minor and the Rays reliever noted that at least the sandwiches tasted good.
But now apparently the minor injury will keep him from pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, as Peralta told Bill Chastain of MLB.com:
The main thing is, this is probably the only chance I have to play in the WBC and I’m not going to be able to. I was hoping that I could. Years earlier, I was anxious for them to invite me to go and they didn’t. Now, they invite me to go and I can’t go. So it hurts a little bit. If I was practicing and pitching, I might change my mind.
It’s a tough break for Peralta at age 36, but that’s the risk you take when getting in a car to get buy some sandwiches.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.